FOLLOW THE EXPEDITION
When returning to the same site as mentioned in the last report, Royal Engineer Lt Luke Cox discovered a tunnel running from within the city to emerge from one of the sheer rock faces that make this such an inaccessible place. Was it an escape route or a form of look out point? "We just don't know" commented JBS "but even today, if held by a small but determined force, it would present a challenging objective for well trained attackers". The ground was littered with broken pottery, grinding stones and lumps of unrefined copper indicating a prosperous community, yet their dwellings were extremely humble and makeshift. The beehive shape tombs have a similar appearance to a large central structure in the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe.
Considering the climate of this desolate mountain top life must have been pretty wretched. Amayara Indians living around Calacoto refer to it as "The City of the Eagle Men" and indeed eagles and hawks can be seen soaring above the rocky crag, whilst herds of vicuna, a wild relative of the llama, graze on the plain. A beautiful puma, a mouton top lion, has been seen near the expedition camp and large bushy tailed foxes, hares and rodents are also common.
Chulphas by Lee Smart
The expedition has mapped the mysterious "City of the Eagle Men" and moved on to new discoveries. Another and larger similar city has been discovered on a Meseta near by and Bolivian Anthropologist Danilo Villamor found tombs containing skeletons of eagle men or Pakajes in foetal positions inside rope baskets. In some cases a male was surrounded by up to six female skeletons indicating that "favourite women" were often killed and buried with a chieftain.
Ben Cartwright made a fascinating discovery of an eagle's head carved into a prominent outcrop of rock. In the same area, Bolivian Archaeologist Adrian Alvarez located a temple 34m by 16m, the walls of which were still virtually complete. He also found a most unusual Chulpa or burial chamber nearby. The work continues at this site.
No significant rain has fallen for 10 days and Jim Masters' fleet of reed boats are at Calacoto awaiting a rise in river level. However , as you can see in the photos below, several of the expedition vehicles had to be recovered from muddy rivers not yet dry enough to cross.
Stuck In The River
Stuck In The River